Feb. 25, 2004
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va –
Every team in the Atlantic Coast Conference has its strengths. For the Florida State University men’s swimming and diving team one of those strengths has been the relay events. That tradition continued Wednesday (February 25) during the first day of the ACC Championships as the Seminoles came away with their first victory of the competition.
Seeded third coming into the 200-yard medley relay, Florida State won the even with an NCAA “B” cut time of 1:28.95. The victory pushed the men into a tie with the host Virginia for first place at 72 points followed the first two events. NC State is third with 60 points.
“It’s big to get a win like that,” FSU head coach Neil Harper said. “The atmosphere is just electric and it’s great for our whole team to see that we can win here. Our boys are confident and this gets them ready for their individual races tomorrow.”
Florida State has won the last three 200 medley relays and six of the last eight. Since joining the league in 1992, the Seminoles have won 23 relay titles, four more than the closest school Virginia, and two more than the rest of the six teams combined.
Starting off the winning swim was Chris Vythoulkas (Nassau, Bahamas) with a split of 22.78 in the backstroke. Senior Wickus Nienaber (Manzini, Swaziland) swam the fastest breaststroke split of the night (24.43) to give FSU the league. Michael Averett (Davie, Fla.) held onto the advantage in the butterfly and Michael Paulus’s (Somserset West, South Africa) freestyle leg brought home the gold
“The great thing about the 200 medley is that we were ranked third coming in,” Harper added. “We didn’t have Wickus at the Texas A&M Invitational and that was the big X factor. He had the fastest breaststroke split and made the difference tonight.”
Just like it did last week during the women’s meet, Florida State placed third during the opening event of the championships, the 800-yard freestyle relay. The quartet of Alan Ribeiro (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Joel Roycik (Winter Park, Fla.), Tal Stricker (Ramat-Gan, Israel) and Steve Roof (Canton, Ohio) hit the wall in a season-best time of 6:36.35, earning then NCAA “B” cut consideration.
“Typically we’ve been a more sprint oriented program,” Harper explained. “And usually our top 100 swimmers in each stroke are also good in the 50. We’ve always placed an emphasis on the importance of relays when we’re recruiting. It’s a well known fact that FSU will have good relays. Our recruits know that coming in and our team knows that going into big meets.”
The four day meet continues on Thursday (February 26) with the morning prelims of the 500 free, 200 individual medley, 50 free and one-meter diving. The evening also features the finals of the 200-yard free relay.
ACC Men's Swimming & Diving Championships
February 25, 2004
1. Florida State 72
2. Virginia 72
3. NC State 60
4. Clemson 58
5. Georgia Tech 56
6. Maryland 52
7. Duke 46
8. North Carolina 34
Event 1 - 800 Freestyle Relay
3) Florida State, 6:36.35 - NCAA "B" Cut
(Ribeiro, Roycik, Stricker, Roof)
Event 2 - 200 Medley Relay
1) Florida State, 1:28.95 - NCAA "B" Cut
(Vythoulkas, Nienaber, Averett, Paulus)